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"The Memoirs of Dolly Morton" is a classic erotic novel, published in 1899. It contains graphic sexual descriptions and themes.In The Memoirs of Dolly Morton, there are the true adventures of the brave women of the “underground railway”, in the efforts to destroy the system of slavery which was the worst of many bad legacies bequeathed the Republic of the United States by the British Government, are related with a candour and a graphic beauty rarely encountered in any literature.Excerpt from the book:"In The Memoirs of Dolly Morton, the true adventures of the brave women of the “underground railway” are related with a candour and a graphic beauty rarely encountered in any literature.We see beautiful women stripped bare under a Southern sun; we hear their cries and pleadings for mercy as, one by one, their robes and petticoats are torn off or tucked up, their drawers unfastened and rolled down; our eyes are shocked at the sight of the white, well developed hemispheres laid bare and blushing to our gaze, only to receive the cruel lash- the hemispheres which had never been bared since mother whipped them across her knees, never been rudely handled save in the legitimate caresses of the conjugal bed.Sorry are we, but little can we do: let he that goes down to war count well the cost thereof. The hairbreadth escapes and the singular adventures are of themselves strange reading, but, when we remember that these adventures were undergone for the highest human ends, interest is merged in admiration for the heroism which could sacrifice so much in the cause of humanity."
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The Memoirs of Dolly Morton 1899AnonymousThis ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with.If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then you should purchase your own copy.First edition 2012
The most heroic episodes in the history of the American people are bound up with the efforts to destroy the system of slavery which was the worst of many bad legacies bequeathed the Republic of the United States by the British Government. Happily, by Ordinance of Congress in 1787-the same year in which the Constitution was adopted-slavery was abolished or forbidden in the vast north-western territory out of which so many great states since have been carved.
Then, by the Compromise of 1820, a certain line was fixed beyond which current slave empires would not be permitted to extend.
However, the odious institution of slave holding still persisted in the South, and, while most politicians were trying to put off the “irrepressible conflict,” as Seward called it, private help was being given by benevolent people all over the northern states to those slaves who were both brave and daring enough to attempt escape. Indeed, some persons, who were so interested in the abolitionist movement that they willingly risked their own freedom to help their unfortunate, dark-skinned fellow-humans gain theirs, organized what since has gone down in history as the “underground railroad.”
The “underground railroad” was a network of farms and houses in which escaping slaves were given refuge as they moved northward. At each “station,” the fugitive slave would be fed and sheltered, attended to medically when possible, and advised of the route to the next “station.” Then he would be sent on his way, the precarious path having been made somewhat less thorny because of the benevolent care of the sympathizer who tended the “station.” Professor Wilbur H. Siebert, in a work of great patience, has collected the names of about 3,200 Americans who were engaged in the good work of helping these poor creatures escape, and, in the roll of the world’s worthies, there can be few more honoured names.
To help a Negro escape from his master was, it must be remembered, a most perilous undertaking. Many states affixed severe penalties to aiding or abetting a runaway. Men who were caught in the enterprise were beaten, imprisoned and sometimes even killed. Women, meanwhile, were ruthlessly stripped and whipped; their persons were exposed to the lustful eyes of lascivious men, and, on many of them, other violence’s of a far more intimate nature were perpetrated. These ardent southern gentlemen who captured them were, after all, men in a sexual sense also, and few men can witness the chastisement and skin-warming of lovely women without feeling promptings of a passionate nature.
In The Memoirs of Dolly Morton, the true adventures of the brave women of the “underground railway” are related with a candour and a graphic beauty rarely encountered in any literature.
We see beautiful women stripped bare under a Southern sun; we hear their cries and pleadings for mercy as, one by one, their robes and petticoats are torn off or tucked up, their drawers unfastened and rolled down; our eyes are shocked at the sight of the white, well developed hemispheres laid bare and blushing to our gaze, only to receive the cruel lash- the hemispheres which had never been bared since mother whipped them across her knees, never been rudely handled save in the legitimate caresses of the conjugal bed.
Sorry are we, but little can we do: let he that goes down to war count well the cost thereof. The hairbreadth escapes and the singular adventures are of themselves strange reading, but, when we remember that these adventures were undergone for the highest human ends, interest is merged in admiration for the heroism which could sacrifice so much in the cause of humanity.
The chief of this “underground” system was one Levi Coffin, who was said personally to have helped to freedom over three thousand slaves.
The distinguished names of Theodore Parker, Fred Douglass, John Brown, Marshall Giddings, Gerrit Smith and others all are associated with this most romantic of narratives in the history of the century. And, for adventure, the exploits of the emancipators cannot be equalled.
Calvin Fairbanks conducted a whole slave family in a load of straw.
James W. Torrence, who exported grain and feathers to Canada, packed runaways inside his crates. Abram Allen had a large three-seated wagon made for the express purpose of carrying fugitives; he called it “Liberator”; it had a mechanism with a bell to record the number of miles travelled. Hannah Marsh took garden produce to the markets of Philadelphia and secured slaves among her carrots and pumpkins. Giddings, a member of Congress, reserved a bedroom in his house in Ohio expressly for runaway slaves. An attic over Garrison’s office in Boston was used for the same purpose.
Though heavy penalties were enforced in the cases of those who aided fugitives, and though the work was dangerous and might ruin a man who engaged in it, nothing could stop the so dedicated abolitionists who so nobly strove to make poor men free. The reader who peruses Dolly Morton will realize more fully what slavery meant, and how much self-denial was needed to press onward the cause of emancipation.
Paris, France 1899
The writer of this story has told me that the woman in question actually related the narrative as set forth herein, and that he believes it to be true in all main points.
How I made the acquaintance of Dolly Morton, with a faithful account of the circumstances under which she felt impelled to tell me the story of her life.
In the summer of the year 1866, shortly after the conclusion of the civil war between the North and South in America, I was in New York, to which city I had gone for the purpose of taking my passage in a Cunard Steamer to Liverpool on my way back home to one of the midland counties of England after a shooting and fishing trip in the province of Nova Scotia.
My age at that period was thirty years, I stood six feet in my socks and I was strong and healthy, my disposition was adventurous; I was fond of women and rather reckless in my pursuit of them; so, during my stay in New York, I went about the city very much at night, seeing many queer sights and also various strange phases of life in the tenement houses. However, I do not intend to relate my experiences in the slums of New York City.
One afternoon, about five o’clock, I had strolled into Central Park, where I seated myself on a bench under the shade of a tree to smoke a cigar. It was a beautiful day in August; the sun, sloping to the west, was shining brightly in a cloudless sky; a light breeze was blowing, tempering the heat and making the leaves of the trees rustle with a soothing sound, and I leant lazily back in my seat, looking at the trim and often pretty nursemaids of various nationalities in charge of the smartly-dressed American children. Then my eyes turned upon a lady who was sitting on the adjoining bench, reading a book.
She apparently was twenty-five years of age, a very pretty little woman with, as far as I could see, a shapely, well-rounded figure. Her hair was a light golden brown and was coiled in a big chignon at the back of her head-it was the day of chignons and crinolines.
She was neatly gloved and handsomely but quietly dressed, everything she wore being in good taste, from the little hat on her head to the neat boots on her small, well-shaped feet, which peeped from under the hem of her wide skirt.
I stared at her harder than was polite, thinking that she was quite the type of a pretty American lady of the upper class. After a moment or two she became conscious of my fixed gaze, and, raising her eyes from her book, she looked steadily at me for a short time. Then, apparently satisfied with my appearance, a bright smile came to her face and she shot a saucy glance at me, at the same time making a motion with her hand inviting me to come and sit beside her.
I was rather astonished, as I had not thought from her appearance that she was one of the demi-monde; but I was quite willing to have a chat with her-and also to poke her, if her conversation pleased me as much as her looks.
Rising from my seat, I went over to her, and she at once drew aside her voluminous skirts so as to make room for me on the bench beside her. I seated myself and we began to talk.
She spoke grammatically and in an educated manner, and, though she had the American accent, her voice was low and musical-(I do not dislike the American accent when I hear it on the lips of a pretty woman)-and she certainly was a pretty woman. Her eyes were large, clear and blue, her complexion was extremely good, her teeth were white and regular, her nose was well-shaped and she had a small mouth with red lips.
She had plenty to say for herself, chatting away merrily and using quaint expressions that made me laugh. I took quite a fancy to the lively little woman, so I made up my mind to see her home and spend the night with her.
She had at once noticed by my accent that I was an Englishman, and she informed me that she never before had spoken to a man of my nationality. After we had chatted for some time, I asked her to dine with me. She seemed pleased at my invitation, and at once accepted it so we strolled quietly out of the park to a restaurant where I ordered a good dinner with champagne.
When the meal was over and I had smoked a cigar, I took my companion, who told me that her name was “Dolly,” to a theatre. At the end of the performance I engaged a “hack,” as the conveyance is called in New York, and drove the woman to her home, which was in the suburbs, about three miles from the theatre. Since it was a bright, moonlit night, I was able to see that the house was a pretty little one storied building with a creeper-covered veranda standing in a small garden surrounded by iron railings.
The door was opened by a neatly-dressed quadroon woman who ushered us into the drawing room; then, after drawing the curtains and turning up the gas jets in the gasoliers, she went away.
The room, which had folding doors at one end, was prettily furnished; there was nothing in the least suggestive about it, everything being in good style. The floor was covered with a handsome Oriental carpet, the curtains were velvet; there were some good engravings on the walls, and there was a cabinet containing some choice specimens of old china.
My companion told me to sit down and make myself comfortable; then, begging me to excuse her for a moment or two, she passed through the folding doors into the adjoining apartment, which I saw was a bedroom. In a short time she returned, dressed in a white wrapper trimmed with blue ribbons; she had taken off her boots and put on dainty little French slippers, and her hair was flowing loose over her shoulders nearly down to her waist.
She looked so “fetching” that I at once took her on my knees and gave her a kiss on the lips, which she returned, at the same time inserting the tip of her tongue in my mouth. Then I put my hand up her clothes, finding that she had nothing on under the wrapper but a fine, lace-trimmed chemise and her black silk stockings, which were fastened high above the knees with scarlet satin garters, so I was able to feel her whole body with perfect ease.
She was plump as a partridge; there was not a single angle about her figure, and her skin was as smooth as satin. Her bubbies were rather small, but they were as round as apples, quite firm and tipped with tiny, erect, pink nipples. She had a very good bottom with plump firm cheeks, and the hair on the Mons Veneris was silky to the touch.
She gave me a brandy and soda, and we chatted while I smoked a cigar. Then we went into the bedroom, where everything was exquisitely clean and sweet. In a short time we were between the sheets. My breast was on her bosom, my mouth was on her lips, my amatory organ was up to the roots in her den of love, my hands were grasping the cheeks of her bottom and I was riding her vigorously, while she was sighing, squeaking and bucking up under my powerful digs.
My member was big, her fissure was small and wonderfully tight; moreover she was a good mount, so I enjoyed the “flutter” very much, especially as I had not “had” a woman for a month. But I had knocked all the breath out of the little woman, and, when all was over, she lay panting in my arms. However, when she had recovered her wind, she said with a little laugh: “My gracious! You are very big and very strong. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a vigorous embrace in all my life. You seemed to go right through me. But I like it.”
I laughed, making no remark, but lying quietly resting, still holding her in my arms and stroking her cool velvety skin till I was ready for action again. Then, making her kneel on all fours outside the bed, I poked her from behind, “en leverette” again making her wince and squeak and wriggle her bottom. We then got between the sheets again, and I made her lie on her side with her back turned towards me while I lay behind her with my belly and thighs pressed against the cool, plump cheeks of her bottom and with my half-stiff tool resting in the cleft of her thighs. In this position we fell asleep.
I slept soundly, not waking once till half-past eight o’clock next morning. Sitting up in the bed, I looked at my companion, who was still fast asleep, lying on her back with her long hair streaming over the pillow and her arms stretched above her head. She looked quite young and very pretty and there was a faint pink tint on her round cheeks.
I gently pulled the bed-clothes down to her feet and rolled up her night dress to her chin without waking her. Then I took a good look at her naked charms. And they were worth looking at. Her skin was as white as milk and without a blemish; she really was very well-made, and perfectly proportioned.- Her little bubbies stood out from her bosom in high relief; her plump, well-rounded thighs were shapely; she had good legs; her ankles were slender; her belly was without a wrinkle-she evidently had never had a child-and her rose-bed was shaded with fine, curly, golden hair.
My pintle was as stiff as a poker, so I woke her by gently tickling the edge of her grotto with my forefinger. She looked smilingly up in my face, her big blue eyes twinkling with fun, saying: “So you have prepared me for the morning sacrifice. Well, I am ready to receive the stroke.”
She then stretched out her legs and in a few seconds I had given her a strong morning poke, which pleased me more than the ones I had had overnight, for, while I was working at her, the little woman had bucked up more briskly and had wriggled her bottom in the spasm even more lasciviously than on the two other occasions. She really seemed to like the digging I gave her, and I don’t think she had pretended to be voluptuously excited merely to please me.
Presently we began to chat on various subjects, her conversation showing that she took an intelligent interest in the affairs of the day.
Our talk eventually turned to what was at that period a burning topic, the late civil war, and I asked her which side had had her sympathies.
“I am a Northern woman,” she replied, “so I was always for the Union, and am exceedingly glad that the Southerners were beaten and the slaves set free. Slavery was a horrible thing and a disgrace to the country.”
“But,” I said, “from all the accounts one hears, it seems that the Negroes in the South were better off before the war as slaves than they are now as free people.”
“Oh, but they are free now, and that is the great point. No doubt things are bad at present, but they will improve in time.”
“I thought that, as a rule, the slaves were well-treated by their owners.”
“So they were in many cases,” she replied, “but there was no security for them; there was always the chance of their being sold to strange people; and then wives were separated from their husbands, and children from their parents. Besides, there were many owners who treated their slaves badly-working them hard, feeding them scantily and whipping them cruelly for the least offence. Then again, slaves had no rights of any sort. The girls and women, if light coloured and pretty, were not allowed to be virtuous, even if they wished to be. They were obliged to give themselves up to the embraces of their masters, and, if a woman dared to object, she was severely whipped.”
“Oh, surely you must be mistaken,” I observed. “No, I am not. I know what I am talking about, for I lived in a slave state before the war, and I had special opportunities for finding out all about slavery and the distressing things connected with it.”
“Was it a common thing for women to be whipped?” I asked.
“Yes; I do not suppose that there was a single plantation in the whole of the South where the female slaves were not whipped. Of course, on some plantations there was more whipping than on others. And what made the thing more horrid was the fact that the whippings were always inflicted by men, and very often in the most public way.”
“On what part of the body were the slave women whipped; and what instruments of punishment were used?” I inquired.
“Sometimes they were whipped on the back, but most frequently on the bottom; the instruments used were various; there was the hickory switch, the strap and the paddle.”
“What is the paddle?”
“It is a round flat piece of wood fixed to a long handle, and it was always used on the bottom. It does not draw blood, but each stroke raises a blister on the skin and bruises the flesh. The hickory switch, if used with any degree of force, will cut the skin and draw blood. There was another terrible instrument of punishment called ‘the cowhide,’ but it was very seldom used on women.”
“You seem to know all about whipping. Now tell me how it was you came to be living in a slave state,” said I.
“I was helping to run a station on the ‘underground railroad’; but I suppose you don’t know what an ‘underground station’ is.”
“No, I do not, what is it?”
“’Underground railroad stations’ were houses in which the abolitionists used to conceal the runaway slaves. There were a number of these ‘stations’ in various parts of the South, and the runaway was forwarded secretly by night from one ‘station’ to another, till he or she finally got to a free state. It was dangerous work, because assisting a slave to escape was against the laws of the South, and to do so was considered a very great crime. Any man or woman caught at such work was sure of getting a long term of imprisonment with hard labour in the State’s prison. Besides, everyone’s hand was against the abolitionist; not only the slave-owners, but also the ordinary white people who did not own a single slave, and it often happened that abolitionists were lynched. They were tarred and feathered, or ridden on a rail or made to suffer in some other way by bands of lawless men.”
“Did you ever get into trouble while you were at the ‘underground station?’” I asked.
“Yes I did. I got into bitter trouble, and went through dreadful sufferings. In fact, what happened to me changed the whole course of my life and was the cause of my being what I am now. Oh, how I hate the Southerners! The cruel wretches!” she exclaimed fiercely, her eyes flashing, her bosom heaving and her cheeks reddening.
I was surprised at her sudden outburst of anger, and it at once struck me that the little woman had a story. I was curious to hear it, so I said: “I should very much like to hear what happened to you in the South. Will you tell me?”
After a moment’s hesitation, she replied: “I have never told my story to a man yet; but I will tell it to you, as you are an Englishman and I think you have a sympathetic nature. The story is a very long one, and there is not time to tell it to you now, but if you will come here tonight at seven o’clock and dine quietly with me, I will give you a full account of my life.”
I replied that I should be delighted to dine with her and that it would give me great pleasure to hear her story.
Just then there was a knock at the door and the quadroon woman, neatly dressed and wearing a smart cap on her head, came into the room with tea and buttered toast on a tray, which she placed on a table beside the bed.
My companion sat up, saying to the quadroon: “Mary, give me my wrapper.”
The woman handed her mistress the garment, which she threw over her shoulders. Then turning to me, Dolly said with a smile: “Mary was a slave for twenty-five years, and if you’d like to ask her any questions about her life she will answer you truthfully. She is not shy. Are you, Mary?”
The quadroon, who was a very buxom, rather good-looking woman, smiled broadly, showing a double row of white teeth between her full, red lips. “No, Miss Dolly,” she replied, “I isn’t shy.”
I was quite ready to ask Mary to give me some information about herself, so to begin with, I said: “Well Mary, how old are you and what state do you come from?”
“I’se thirty years old, Sah, an’ I was raised on ole Major Bascombe’s plantation in de state ob Alabama. Dere was one hundred an’ fifty field hands on de plantation, an’ twelve house servants in de place. I was one ob de parlour maids, Sah,” she added with a sort of pride.
“Was your master a good one?” I next asked the woman.
“Well, Sah, he was a pretty good Massa on de whole; he fed us well, an’ he didn’t work us too hard; but he was bery strict, an’ dere was plenty ob whipping on de plantation, an’ in de house too.”
“Were you ever whipped?”
Mary looked at me with an expression of surprise on her face at being asked such a silly question. “Ob course I was, Sah, many a time,” she replied. “I got my fust whippin’ when I was ’bout seven years old, an’ I got my las’ one when I was twenty-five years old; only a week ’fore we was all set free by de President ob de United States.”
“How were you whipped?”
“When I was a little girl I used to get spanked; when I grew big, dey whipped me on de bare back or bottom wid de strap or de hick’ry switch; and I’se had de paddle on my bottom several times,” said Mary, coolly as possible.
“Who used to whip the women?”
“One ob de overseers gener’ly; but sometimes de Massa himself used to whip de house-servants, Dere was a room kep’ for de purpose, an’ when a gal or a woman was whipped, she was tied face downwards on a long bench, den her close was turned up an’ she got her allowance.”
“Were the whippings severe?”
“Oh, dey always hurt us dreffully an’ made us squeal out loud an’ wriggle; an’ sometimes we was whipped till the blood come.”
Here Dolly broke in, saying: “And when the skin of a woman’s back or bottom has been broken by a whipping, the marks never entirely disappear. Mary has plenty of marks upon her body at this moment. Show your bottom to the English gentleman, Mary, and prove the truth of what you have told him.”
The woman, without the least hesitation, turned her back towards me.
Then she gathered all her clothes up under her arms, exposing the whole lower part of her person. (She was wearing no drawers.)
It was a sight!! All women of Negro blood have, naturally, big bottoms, and, since Mary was rather stout, her bottom was enormous, the plump hemispheres of flesh swelling out and sweeping in great curves to the massive thighs and sturdy legs cased in tight, white cotton stockings.
Her skin was smooth and of a light brown tint, and I noticed at once that both the fat cheeks of her bottom as well as the upper part of her thighs were marked with long, fine, white lines where the skin had been cut by the lash.
She seemed to like showing her opulent charms, for she was in no hurry to drop her petticoats, but stood looking over her shoulder at me with a complacent smile on her face till her mistress said: “That will do, Mary.”
She then let her clothes fall and left the room smiling.
“There,” said Dolly, “you have seen the marks on her bottom, and I can tell you that her back is just as much marked. Moreover, she was seduced, or, to speak more correctly, she had to give herself up to her master’s eldest son when she was only fifteen years old. She afterwards passed through the hands of the two younger sons; but the fact of her being the plaything of the three young men did not save her bottom from being blistered by the paddle or striped with the switch whenever she committed an offence of any sort. She has told me that she sometimes had to go to the room of one or another of the young masters while her bottom was bleeding from a whipping. I have another woman about thirty-five years of age in my service as cook; she comes from South Carolina, and her body is even more scarred than Mary’s with the marks of the whip.”
Dolly paused for a moment or two while she sipped her tea.
Then she said: “Now don’t you think it is a good thing that slavery has been abolished in the United States?”
“Yes, indeed I do. I had no idea that female slaves were ever treated in such a way,” I replied.
The details given me by Dolly and the quadroon had surprised me very much and had also somewhat moved me. But at the same time I was feeling very randy. The sight of a woman’s bottom always has an exciting effect upon me. Therefore the full view I had just had of Mary’s big posteriors had given me a tremendous cockstand. So, taking hold of Dolly, I kid her on her back, pulled down the bedclothes, tucked up her drapery and poked her again with great gusto. Then, after refreshing myself with a cup of tea and a piece of toast, I got up and had a cold bath in a small dressing room adjoining the bedchamber.
As soon as I had dressed myself, I bade Dolly good bye, promising to be back again without fail at seven o’clock. Then, giving her a kiss and a good present, I left the house and made my way back to the hotel where I was staying. After changing my clothes I sat down to breakfast with a good appetite, feeling very well satisfied with my night’s amusement.
The day passed rather slowly, and sharply at seven o’clock I was back at Dolly’s house, curious to hear her story and fully intending to stay with her all night again.
She seemed glad to see me, and she was looking very nice in a pretty frock of some soft white material. She gave me a simple but well cooked little dinner, with a bottle of excellent Burgundy.
Mary, smartly dressed and beaming with smiles- but perfectly respectful-waited on us, and, when the meal was over and we had gone into the drawing room, she brought some really well-made coffee.
Dolly leant back in an easy chair with her feet, in smart velvet slippers, resting on a stool, and, since her skirts were slightly raised, I was able to see her trim ankles cased in pale blue silk stockings.
I lit a cigar and settled myself in another easy chair opposite her. She then began to tell me her story, which turned out to be a very long one.
The tale was not nearly finished when we went to bed after a little supper at midnight. But, having got interested in the narrative, I wished to hear the end of it, so I paid Dolly three or four more visits and she continued her story each time I saw her until, at last, she had related the whole of her adventures to me. Since I was able to write shorthand, I took down her narrative exactly as she related it, without a break, in her own words.
A young girl’s humiliating experiences, death of my father; how I made Miss Ruth Dean’s acquaintance and what came of it; helping to free the slaves.
My name is Dolly Morton, I am just twenty-six years of age and I was born in Philadelphia, where my father was a clerk in a bank.
I was his only child and my mother died when I was two years old, so I have no remembrance of her. My father’s salary was small, but he gave me as good an education as his means would allow, his intention being that I should gain my living as a school teacher.
He was a silent, stern, reserved man, who perhaps may have been fond of me in his way: but he never showed any outward sign of affection, and he always kept me under strict discipline. Whenever I committed a fault, he would lay me across his knees, turn up my short petticoats, take down my drawers and spank me soundly with a broad piece of leather. I was a plump, soft, thin-skinned girl who felt pain acutely, and I used to shriek and kick up my heels and beg for mercy -which however, I never received, for he would calmly go on spanking me till my poor little bottom was as red as fire and I was hoarse with screaming. Then when the punishment was over and my trembling fingers had buttoned up my drawers, I would slink away with smarting bottom and streaming eyes ° our old servant who had been my nurse, and she would sympathize with me and comfort me till the smart of the spanking had passed off.
Our life was a rather lonely one; we had no relatives, my father did not care for society of any sort and I had very few girl friends of my own age; but I was strong and healthy, my disposition was cheerful and, fortunately, I was fond of reading, so, though I often felt very dull, I was not absolutely unhappy as a child.
And so the years rolled on, quietly and uneventfully. My childhood passed, I was eighteen years of age and had grown to my full height of five feet, four inches; my figure was well rounded, and I was quite a woman in appearance. I had begun to chafe at the monotony and repression of my life, and was sometimes very wilful and disobedient.
But I always suffered on such occasions, for my father still continued to treat me as a child, taking me across his knees and spanking me whenever I offended him. Moreover, he informed me that he would spank me every time I misbehaved until I was twenty years old. This was very humiliating to a girl of my age, especially since I had become rather romantic and had begun to think of sweethearts. But I never dreamed of resisting my father’s authority, so I took my spankings - which, I must confess, were sometimes well deserved-with as much fortitude as I could muster up.
But a change in my life was soon to come. My father was seized with an attack of pneumonia, to which he succumbed after a few days’ illness.
I was stunned at first by the suddenness of the blow, but I cannot say that I felt much grief at my loss. My father had never made a companion of me, and, whenever I had tried to interest him in my little affairs, he had invariably shown himself utterly unsympathetic.
However I had not much time to think over the past; my position r s it was at that moment had to be faced, and a most unfortunate one it was.
My father had died in debt, and the creditors were pressing for payment. I had no money, so the furniture of the house was sold by auction, and, when everything had been settled, I found myself without a cent, homeless and quite alone in the world.
I lived for a month with my old nurse. She would have kept me with her always, had she been able but she had her own living to make, so she was obliged to go into service again. Then I would have been compelled to seek shelter in the poor house had it not been for the kindness of a lady who, hearing of my friendless and forlorn condition, took me into her house.
Her name was Miss Ruth Dean, and she was at that period thirty years of age. She belonged to the Quaker sect, or, as she called it, “The Society of Friends.” She was a virgin, she had no lovers, she was her own mistress and she lived in a large house about two miles from the city.
She was well off and she made good use of her money, spending most of it in charity. Her time was chiefly occupied in philanthropic work of all sorts, and she was always ready to give a helping hand to anyone who needed a start in Me.
But, before proceeding, I must give you a physical description of Miss Ruth Dean. She was a tall, slender, delicately formed woman with large, earnest-looking brown eyes; her hair also was brown; it was long and soft and she always wore it in plain bands. She had a lovely clear complexion, but there was no colour in her cheeks, though she was in perfect health and was capable of going through a great amount of fatigue. She was a pretty woman, but there was always a rather prim expression on her face, and she rarely laughed, though she was not the least morose.
Miss Dean was as good a woman as ever lived, and she was the best friend I ever had. From the first she treated me as a guest and was most kind to me. I had a prettily furnished bed-sitting room of my own, and the servants, all of whom were devoted to their mistress, always treated me with respect.
Miss Dean had a number of correspondents in all parts of the States, and now my education proved useful to me, for I was able to help my benefactress in answering her letters. She, finding that I was sharp and intelligent, appointed me her secretary, giving me a small salary for pocket money, and also supplying me with clothes. I was very comfortable and never had been so happy in all my life.
There were no cross looks, no sharp scolding, and, above all, no horrid spankings.
As time passed Miss Dean became like an elder sister to me.
I likewise grew very fond of her. She admired my face and figure, and always liked to see me nicely dressed, so she gave me lace-trimmed petticoats, drawers and chemises, and also several pretty frocks, though she herself was content with the plainest of under linen and she always wore the Quaker costume, a plain bodice with a straight-cut skirt of drab, dove-coloured material.
As a matter of course, Miss Dean hated the institution of slavery and was an ardent member of the abolitionist party. She supplied funds to and was in constant communication with “Friends” in the Southern States who were in charge of “underground stations,” and she frequently received into her house escaped slaves of both sexes whom she kept till they got employment. She could harbour the fugitives openly because Pennsylvania was a free state.
I need not enter into the details of my life for two years, as nothing eventful happened. I was contented and happy, I had the society of young people of my own age and I had plenty of innocent amusements.
Miss Dean, being a Quaker, did not patronize places of public amusement of any sort herself, nor would she allow me to go to one; neither did she approve of dancing: but she frequently gave quiet parties, and I often was invited to other houses. I was popular with members of my own sex and had several admirers among the other sex but, since I did not care for any one of them, I remained quite heartwhole.
At the time of which I am speaking, the friction between the North and the South was becoming very great, and there were mutterings of the storm which was soon to break-though few people thought that things would end in a long and bloody civil war. Towards the close of the year, the North was startled by the execution, or, as we called it, the murder of the great abolitionist, John Brown, at Harper’s Ferry. Miss Dean was particularly shocked and distressed at the news, for she had known John Brown personally and she believed that he had been quite right in getting up the insurrection which cost him his life. Any act, she averred, was justifiable that had for its object the emancipation of the slaves, and she declared that she would not hesitate to do the same thing herself if she thought that it would forward the cause.
As the weeks passed, she became restless. She was not satisfied with merely sending money to the South. She wanted to do something personally to help the slaves, and finally she made up her mind to go South and take charge of an “underground station.”
She told me one afternoon what she intended to do, and she became quite enthusiastic about it, “Oh!” she exclaimed. “I am longing to begin the work of rescue. I am sure that I could manage a ‘station’ better than any man. Men are suspected and constantly watched by the white loafers, but no one would suspect a woman of running a ‘station,’ so, if I live quietly and take all necessary precautions, I am not likely to be found out.”
My sympathies had always been with the slaves, and now Miss Dean’s enthusiasm moved me greatly. I at once made up my mind to go with her, and I told her of my determination.
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